Malcolm Perry was selected in the final round of the 2020 NFL Draft with the No. 246 overall pick by the Miami Dolphins. He is a versatile offensive utility player from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
Perry is one of just a few military players to be selected over the past few years in the draft, mainly due to military requirements from the institution the player is attending. Military colleges require graduates to serve their country following institution guidelines.
New Service Guidelines Could Poise Perry to Play in 2020
However, new guidelines were issued in November that would allow servicemen like Perry to delay his military commitment in order to play professional sports. He would have to submit a waiver outlining his intent to play in the NFL, but various sources have reported it is more than likely for his waiver to be granted.
Inspector Gadget in South Beach
Miami selected a true diamond in the rough with Perry. Why? He’s a gadget player and a positional player all at once.
Perry was positionally a quarterback in a run-destined offense. The Naval Academy ran more run options and ground plays than most could keep track of and rarely ran receiving plays. The QB undoubtedly learned the running back position because of the way the Midshipmen run their program. But, when needed, he also jumped out wide and was a wide receiver.
Perry: The Unquestioned Leader Beginning His Sophomore Season
His time as a QB didn’t truly start until 2017. Head coach Ken Niumatalolo tested out Perry rushing the ball in 2016 when he appeared as a RB in three games as a freshman. He managed nine attempts across the span, accumulating 73 yards and scoring one touchdown. Niumatalolo saw potential in Perry, evident by his promotion to QB, that would have to handle a bulk of the rushing plays, in 2017.
In 2017 he played in 12 games, but went just 1-for-2 passing. One of his passes resulted in a five-yard score, but the other was an interception. This was a time that Navy was full-on rushing with really no exceptions. Perry’s rushing that year was something special.
He rushed for 1,182 yards on 138 attempts and scored 11 TDs. What made him a gadget was his ability to rack up 303 yards and two scores on just 13 receptions. Overall, this was his breakout year and his ascend to the top of the Football Bowl Subdivision records boards.
Usage Grew As a Junior
In 2018, he climbed higher on those boards with his 13 games at QB. He rushed for 1,087 yards on 172 attempts, which was good for seven TDs. He also raised the bar in passing having increased his passing to 25 attempts on the season. Although he completed just nine of those attempts, they went for 222 total yards. Talk about NFL caliber. Navy won their bowl game later that year because of his abilities.
Perry Sets FBS Record
This past year, Perry broke the FBS single-season rushing record. His 2,017 yards on 295 attempts (21 TDs) matched what just seven NFL players have eclipsed in their professional careers. Guys that come to mind here? Barry Sanders, Terrell Davis, Eric Dickerson, Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson. Some rushers in that list even have their gold jacket up in Canton. Talk about dinner party company.
Perry is a rushing monster hidden in the shadows. He’s only five-feet, nine-inches and 190 pounds. That’s the build that allowed him to accomplish these feats.
Exponential Growth By The Numbers
Perry also elevated the Midshipmen’s passing statistics significantly in 2019. He rose to 1,084 yards on 48-for-86 passing. For those keeping track at home, those attempts were 43 times what he attempted as a freshman.
Give Him a Spot
Even though the Dolphins have acquired two new veteran backs since free agency began in Jordan Howard and Matt Breida, Miami has a gizmo that’s flying under the radar. For a team who enjoyed trick plays in 2019, the Dolphins have set themselves up to exploit that category even more in 2020 and beyond. Perry deserves a roster spot.
Kayla Morton contributed to this article.